How is Velcade Administered?
Velcade® (bortezomib, Takeda Oncology) is given as an injection into the bloodstream (intravenously, abbreviated IV) or an injection under the skin (subcutaneously, abbreviated SC or SQ), usually in the thigh or abdomen. Subcutaneous administration is more frequently used because it is better tolerated than IV administration and there is reduced risk of peripheral neuropathy, a nerve disorder affecting the hands and feet.
Velcade is given once or twice a week over a 2-week period, followed by a 1- to 2-week rest period. Different schedules may be used for patients who are receiving treatment for the first time and those who are receiving treatment for relapsed disease, as well as patients who are receiving Velcade in combination with other drugs. A typical starting dose is 1.3 mg/m2, but lower doses are also used. When used as maintenance therapy, Velcade may be administered weekly or less frequently, such as once every 2 weeks, with similar or longer treatment periods.
Dosing adjustments are not necessary for patients with reduced kidney function (renal impairment). However, patients with moderately or severely reduced liver function (hepatic impairment) typically start with a reduced dose of Velcade (0.7 mg/m2). Depending on how this dose is tolerated, subsequent doses may be increased or decreased.
The length of treatment with Velcade may be different from patient to patient and is based on how well the drug is working and if any side effects that develop are manageable. You and your doctor can discuss the length of treatment that may be right for you.
If you are being treated with Velcade, your doctor may also give you medication to prevent shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash and is due to a reactivation of the herpes zoster virus (the virus that causes chickenpox).